C u r r e n t   P r o j e c t s

Melissa's work with a broad range of domestic and international non-profits and schools, is marked by human contact, empathy, engagement and creativity. She is a social activist that brings herself to the people and organizations she's interested in helping and engages people directly with art, song, and photography. 

She has an extensive background as a humanitarian photographer, in arts education and in exhibition,

Melissa has extensive background as a humanitarian photographer, in arts education and in exhibition. On island, she has worked with our non-profit Media Voices for Children for the past three years, as a Board Member and curator of our education photo exhibit on child labor, Beneath the Barcode, which is now being developed into a national curriculum for grades 9-12 .

She has made presentations in Vineyard Schools, taught photography to children at Polly Hill Arboretum, worked with the elderly at Windemere and helped organized programs this past summer for the Tribal Council in Aquinnah.
In January, she will undertake arts projects at an orphanage in Tanzania for Precious Project. 

The one year project Melissa proposes for her Vision Fellowship envisions conducting a dozen or more interviews with currently or previously homeless people, using either digital photography or video and developing a book and public exhibition that she can present at a wide range of public venues, libraries, meeting spaces like Pathways and within the framework of the Vision Fellow Program. The intent of her work is to find more empathic ways to address and discuss being homeless or poor or both on Martha's Vineyard and approach it in a way that is non-judgmental and informs conversation and drives action. 



She tailors her programs to suit the diverse needs of the school, its children, and teachers, to ensure ongoing creative development for the whole community to enjoy. 

Whilst working as a teacher, she also works as a documentarian, collecting the stories and life circumstances of children, through digital photography and interviews. 


 with arts educational programs, as well as Creativity has the special power to enhance the wellbeing of others, encourage a culture of gratitude & reciprocity, and strengthen kinship to community & land. It is a way that each child can feel valued and supported, and encouraged for the qualities that he or she already has.  

Melissa's particular innovation is her application of empathetic-outreach℠ approaches to art, photography and music in therapeutic, educational, and professional settings, "placing her at the forefront of innovative and inclusive arts pedagogy". She has the unique ability to inspire a confidence in each individual’s creativity, at the same time as helping each individual to use their creativity to help their wider community.

Melissa works internationally, and partners with:

  • Schools & After-School Programs

  • Colleges & Universities

  • Galleries & Museums

  • Orphanages & Children's Societies

  • Human Rights Organizations

  • Healthcare Facilities, Nursing Homes & Senior Centers

  • Non-Profits & Human Rights Agencies

  • Environmental Agencies


Precious Project: Human Rights Photography & Art Education 

Melissa recieved funding to visit, in January 2020, Precious Project, a non- profit founded in 2011, that offers education and care to orphaned and vulnerable children in rural Tanzania (www.preciousproject.org).

Her photography will aid Precious Project’s advocacy efforts and Donor & Sponsorship program, be distributed through Media Voices for Children, an online human rights news agency, and exhibited on Martha’s Vineyard in Summer 2020.


In collaboration with teachers, staff, and consultants, she will help to implement an art curriculum for students and training program for teachers.



Music as Medicine


The Music As Medicine program is available to Martha's Vineyard nursing homes, healthcare facilities and senior centers. It currently runs at the Oak Bluffs Council on Aging, MV Center for Living, and Windemere Nursing & Rehabilitation Center. The program provides seniors the opportunity to share the music they love with younger generations from the local  community, for the mutual wellbeing of each participant. The approach focuses on the therapeutic and socio-emotional aspects of singing, and highlights the importance of music-making as an intergenerational activity, and an essential part in caring for our elders.

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Children's Nature Photography at Polly Hill Arboretum

The Children's Nature Photography program offers students in grades 4-7 opportunities to develop a sense of kinship to the local landscape cared for by Polly Hill Arboretum. Students will need to bring their own standalone digital camera (rather than phone camera), and will be introduced to the digital darkroom. The program will culminate in a student photography exhibit for family and friends to enjoy!

*FALL Session: TBA


Children's Nature Photography at Thimble Farm (IGI Hub)

The Children's Nature Photography program at Thimble Farm offers students in grades 4-7 opportunities to experience farm life through a different lens. Students will need to bring their own standalone digital camera (rather than phone camera), outdoor attire, including closed-toe shoes as we'll be walking around the farm, water & snacks. Class size is limited, so contact Melissa directly to register. $30 per session, and discounts available when registering for full 8 weeks.

*FALL Session: TBA

Beneath the Barcode, Media Voices for Children

The touring photography exhibit "Beneath the Barcode," with  Media Voices for Children, features the photographs of Roberto Romano and Lewis Hines of children enslaved in labor.  The exhibit piloted at West Tisbury Library, MA, and has traveled to West Tisbury School, Martha's Vineyard Charter School, and Vineyard Haven Library, MA. 

Children's Summer Art Program with the Martha's Vineyard Art Association at the Old Sculpin Gallery


Your child will experience the fun and excitement of ART!  Classes meet Monday through Friday mornings from 9:30 to 11am on the second floor studio, turning the large barn-like space into a whirlwind of creative excitement. And yes, we do get a little messy sometimes (but it all washes off with a little soap and water)!

Please note: There is a limit of 14 children per class.  Classes are $25 per day – reservations are not accepted without payment. Registration forms are required for sign up and can be found by clicking here

Children's Art Program at First Light Child Development Center


Join Melissa at First Light Child Development Center in the Fall, Winter, and Spring for an innovative approach to art for toddlers and children in preschool.  In an atmosphere that shows a deep appreciation for young children's art, each child's inherent artistry is developed through spontaneous play, empathic-outreach approaches, and a guided exploration of materials and art genres/history that leads to independent, and ongoing, creativity.